Spoken word poetry is a communicative form that does much more than just sit on the page. It demands to be heard out loud and witnessed in person.
Executive Artistic Director of Gemini Ink, Sheila Black, said the spoken word brings life to poetry.
“True to the nature of poetry, spoken word performances give voice to life," she said. "There is something special about reading a poem out loud. It takes possession of your body, becomes a part of you that you carry around and then transmit to your audience.”
The idea for La Voz de San Antonio came from the first poet laureate of San Antonio, Carmen Tafolla, who had a vision for people of all demographics and walks of life to come together and share the joy of words — words that can empower, inspire change, motivate action, and ignite passion.
Contestants are invited to recite a poem less than five minutes long to a live audience and a panel of judges. Poems may be original compositions or previously published pieces. All styles and subject matters are welcome – from sonnets to hip-hop, English, Spanish, or even Tex-Mex.
There are six age categories, ranging from younger than seven years old, to 60 years and older. These categories are meant to create an environment in which an 80-year-old poet reciting Robert Frost, alongside a younger generation of slam poets, is equally celebrated.
One winner will be selected in every age category at each of two preliminary events. The first of these will be held Thursday, April 16, from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Carver Community Cultural Center, and the second will take place on Sunday, April 19, from 3 - 5 p.m. at Gemini Ink. All winners from the preliminary rounds will then compete for prizes in the grand finale, hosted by Say Si! on Sunday, April 26, from 3 - 5 p.m.
Ron and Valerie Finch of the Edouard Foundation have generously donated the prizes for this competition. Children and youth winners will receive $500 in 529 college savings plans, and adult winners will receive $100 gift certificates from Gemini Ink. These gift certificates can be used towards writer’s workshops and other events offered by the literary arts organization. Gemini Ink believes that reading and writing are essential components for a healthy and happy life, of which people of all ages can take advantage.
La Voz de San Antonio will give voice to unique and diverse artists from the San Antonio community. Whether as a contestant or as an audience member, all participants will appreciate the energy and passion that is the art of the spoken word.
Registration for contestants is now open. If you are interested in participating in this event, click here for more information.
*Featured/top image: La Voz de San Antonio encourages performers of all ages to celebrate national poetry month by adding their voice to this spoken word competition. Courtesy photo.